In 2008, a book hit the bookshelves that rocked the evangelical world. This book finally put words to what a multitude of people had begun to realize. The revolutionary book was Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola & George Barna. This book made the claim that much of institutional Christianity and modern church practice was actually not rooted in the New Testament scriptures, but in pagan traditions. It was a book whose time had come.
In today’s post, I’d like to tell you about another bomb-shell book dealing with personal relationships that I believe is of a similar caliber. For the last few years, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that the New Covenant & the New Commandment that Jesus gave to us, when truly grasped, is the most radical and purest sexual revolution in relationships that the world has ever known. In a masterful way, this book has finally put words to what I have long suspected.
SACRED UNIONS, SACRED PASSIONS by Dan Brennan
In his book Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions, author Dan Brennan makes the outlandish claim that much of what is taught, believed, and practiced in traditional / evangelical Christianity regarding relationships (specifically regarding cross-sex relationships) are actually rooted in the darker aspects of modern culture than the New Testament.
Relationships were deeply assaulted when sin entered into mankind. Obviously, mankind’s relationship with God was divided, but so was mankind’s relationship with themselves. This can be clearly seen in the way men and women have interacted with one another throughout history.
When Jesus came on the scene, He destroyed the division that existed between God & mankind, and the divisions that existed within mankind themselves. In His life, Jesus demonstrated a new way to relate to one another. This new way to relate came from an entirely different place altogether. A heavenly place. Specifically speaking, Jesus routinely broke social and religious rules when it came to the way He related to other women. Jesus had deep, intimate friendships, several of which were with women.
The way He loved others was completely new. No human being had ever loved with divine love before Jesus came on the scene. This was just the beginning, however. The kind of love that He envisioned would require many people loving one another with divine love. A community of people fearlessly, passionately, and intimately loving one another is what Jesus said the world would recognize as coming from Him. The ‘oneness’ and communion that Jesus envisioned within the relationships in His community (church) would express the very oneness and communion of the triune God Himself (John 17:21).
Unfortunately, the types of relationships that exist in the evangelical religious system are anything but this. For example:
- Most men do not have deep, passionate, intimate relationships with one another.
- Males and females in religious communities are scared to significantly relate to one another. At best, they have distant superficial relationships with one another, and at worst, they try their best to avoid one another altogether in the name of ‘purity’.
- Although women desire deep relationships with their sisters in Christ, even this is fraught with many issues that keep this from becoming a reality.
- In the evangelical world, all the pressure is piled on the marital relationship to be the ‘end-all, be-all’ in regards to deep, passionate, intimate relationships. This has been detrimental to the kind of community that Jesus envisioned, not to mention marriages themselves.
Regardless of our backgrounds, most of us have been deeply assaulted by the religious system when it comes to how we relate to one another. Fear, suspicion, and separation have been the result. Thankfully, the book Sacred Unions, Sacred Passions, gives us a refreshing look at what New Covenant relationships can be when fear and separation are removed.
- Did you know that the deep, intimate, passionate friendship that existed between Jonathan & David rivaled that of David’s love for women? (2 Sam. 1:26) Could it be that this pure love is a picture or shadow of relationships in the New Covenant?
- Is it possible that men and women in Christ (who are not married to one another) could have intimate, passionate, pure, non romantic relationships with one another?
- Is it possible that the Lord’s desire for ‘oneness’ and communion is fulfilled through relationships beyond marriage?
Brennan makes a powerful case that, because of the New Covenant, not only are these kinds of relationships possible, they are essential to bringing the heart of God for His people into reality. Brennan exposes the roots of ‘romantic idealism’ and how this cultural belief has hindered our relationships. Brennan also masterfully sheds light on the reality of ‘passion’ & ‘intimacy’ that is non erotic or romantic in nature. In this book, the case is strongly made that people can have intimate, deeply passionate, yet non-romantic relationships with one another. Brennan defines the concept of ‘friendship love’ and the necessity of ‘friendship love’ both within marriage, and in non-marital relationships.
Of all the ‘Christian’ books I have ever read regarding relationships, none have addressed the nature of relationships (specifically cross-sex relationships) in light of the New Covenant. I can honestly say this book, for me, has been one of the most liberating and refreshing books about the subject of relationships that I have ever read. My hat goes off to Dan for his courage in addressing a subject that is so easily misunderstood and feared.
Who Should Read This Book
Although I truly wish everyone could read this book, many should not read it. This book will challenge the core of your relational paradigms. As much as I loved this book, I honestly found this book to be quite unnerving. It exposed areas of fear that I didn’t know I was still carrying. Nevertheless, my desire to touch the Lord’s heart and experience greater intimacy in relationships within the body of Christ is greater than the fear this book exposed. This enabled me to finish the book, and I am more than glad that I did. If you do not strongly desire greater depths of intimacy in your relationships right now, don’t read this book. If you do, however, this book is a must read.
Click HERE to find out more about this book, and how you can order it.
Because of the challenging nature of this book, Dan Brennan has agreed to come on the blog this Wednesday for an interview in order to explain his heart a bit further. I do hope you will tune in as Dan will be addressing vitally important questions about this topic.
Blessings to you,